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Higher Mitigation of Fines Due to Prompt Implementation of Measures Addressing Authority’s Concerns in Unfair Commercial Practices Investigations

In a decision published on 10 February 2017, imposing Samsung Electronics Italia S.p.A. (“Samsung”) fines totaling € 3.1 million for alleged aggressive unfair commercial practices, the Italian Competition Authority (the “Authority”) confirmed that the prompt implementation of measures aimed at addressing its concerns regarding alleged unfair commercial practices leads to a higher mitigation of the fine. According to the Authority, Samsung would have: (i) provided consumers with incomplete and misleading information on the terms and conditions of the promotions; and (ii) forced consumers to provide their consent to the processing of their personal data for marketing purposes, as a condition to obtain the premiums related to the purchase of the product. In setting the amount of the fine, the Authority took into account the measures implemented by Samsung before and after the beginning of the proceeding. Indeed, in relation to the second allegation, the...

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Unfair Commercial Practices – The Italian Competition Authority and The Italian Communication Authority Sign a Memorandum of Understanding

On 13 January 2017, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) and the Italian Communication Authority (AGCOM) signed a memorandum of understanding concerning several aspects of their cooperation in the application of consumers’ protection rules. Under the memorandum of understanding, in the case of consumers’ protection matters, which potentially involve both authorities, there will be coordinated actions, even during the preliminary investigation phase. Furthermore, AGCM will inform AGCOM on cases concerning the violations of rules enforced by AGCOM, which will do the same in case of hypothesis of unfair commercial practices in the electronic communications sector. The authorities agreed also to set up a standing working group in order to promote the debate on consumer protection issues. Finally, the agreement provides rules on the exchange of information between the authorities on investigations. According to Article 27(1-bis) of the Italian Consumers Code,...

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Activation of Premium Services, The Italian Competition Authority Fines Telepass for Unfair Commercial Practices

On 20 October 2016, the Italian Competition Authority (the “Authority”) fined Telepass of EUR 200,000 for alleged unfair commercial practices. According to the Authority, Telepass would have activated a premium service (premium option extra) to consumers, who activated the simple premium option, without their consent. In particular, Telepass would have adopted a mechanism based on the tacit consent of the consumers, giving them an opt-out option, which consisted in the exercise of the right of withdrawal within 60 days. The main feature of this decision is the application by the Authority of Article 65 of the Italian Consumers Code. This provision was introduced with Legislative Decree no. 21/2014, implementing Directive 2011/83/EU on consumer rights. According to Article 65, “before the consumer is bound by the contract or offer, the trader shall seek the express consent of the consumer to any extra payment in addition to the remuneration agreed upon for the...

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Liberalizations Decree: Main Relevant Changes and Powers of the Italian Competition Authority

by Veronica Pinotti and Martino Sforza.  The main developments in antitrust are: 1. Merger Control (Art. 5-bis) From January 1, 2013: The Italian merger control thresholds will be cumulative and no longer alternative (i.e. the combined turnover in Italy of all undertakings concerned exceeds € 468 million AND the Italian turnover of the target exceeds € 47 million); The current mandatory merger control filing fee (i.e. 1.2 percent of the value of the transaction in a range of € 3,000 and € 60,000) will be replaced by a mandatory fee of 0.08 per thousand of the turnover applicable (regardless of a transaction being filed) to all companies having a turnover exceeding € 50 million (such contribution shall be paid by October 30, 2012 for the first year, and July 31, 2013 for the following years). 2. New Bodies Business Courts (Art. 2) - by September 24, 2012, the IP specialized sections of Italy’s Tribunals and...

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